Sunday, March 28, 2021

Why I Don't Review My Publisher's Books

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

For years I have consistently reviewed books. In fact, I've written over 1,100 Amazon reviews and over 700 reviews on Goodreads. I've frequently written in these articles about the importance of reviews to support other authors and how every day readers use these important reviews to make buying decisions. I've alwo written about my work with Morgan James Publishing acquiring (or finding) the books to be published.  Sometimes my authors will ask me to review their book—and I respectfully decline. Why not?
In this article, I want to give some of these reasons and it will help you understand. As a trained journalist, I understand the dangers of conflict of interest. I can't acquire or find an author for Morgan James and then when their book is published, read and write a review because it is a clear conflict of interest. It's the primary reason I don't review books from my authors. I don't acquire every book that Morgan James publishes so at times I do review some of these books.
There are good reasons to be careful in this process. Amazon and Goodreads monitor their reviews (often through an algorithm or bot). If you mention you are a friend or a relative, your review may be deleted or never appear in the first place. Be wise and careful about these issues as you write reviews.
I read and review many different types of books such as nonfiction, Christian and general market books, children's books, and occasionally a novel. I write these reviews for fun and no one pays me for them. Yes from the publisher or author I receive a review copy of the book or Advanced Reading Copy, but these books come into my mailbox in an almost daily stream. It is way more reading material than anyone could possibly do—even if they did it full-time (which I don't). I'm selective about what I read and review. I'm fairly certain I disappoint some authors who don't understand the volume of books I've received over the years. Just to give you a visual, there is a church library in Kentucky where I donated the majority of their books and years ago the mayor of the town in appreciation declared a “Terry Whalin Day.”
From an early age, I learned to love books. I'm in publishing because I know firsthand books change lives. Years ago I wrote a magazine article about it called Two Words That Changed My Life (and follow this link to read it).
How do you select the books that you read? Do you write reviews? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below.

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